A record setting performance ended the Dordt College Defender men’s basketball season at the NAIA Division II Men’s National Championship first round on Thursday night, March 13th. When the final buzzer sounded the Defenders found themselves on the short end of a 118-116 double overtime loss to William Penn of Iowa. The win puts William Penn in the second round of the tournament against St. Thomas of Florida.
A game that didn’t tip off until 10:05 pm at Keeter Gym on the campus of the College of the Ozarks wasn’t decided until the early morning hours of Friday as the teams battled 50 minutes as opposed to the standard 40 minutes of court time. The game needed an unlikely comeback by the Defenders to force the first overtime and then the Defenders had to deal with significant foul trouble in the second overtime before their season came to an end.
Dordt had a shot to win the game at the end of the first overtime but a three from the corner was just off line and the teams went to a second overtime tied 108-108.
The teams continued to trade baskets as the lead changed hands eight times. Dordt last lead was when David Den Herder made a pair of free throws with :51 left for a 116-115 lead but William Penn had an answer on the next possession, making a three-point basket for a 118-116 lead that held up as Dordt turned the ball over on one possession and couldn’t convert when William Penn missed two free throws with :10 left.
Austin Katje topped the Defenders in scoring as the senior torched the net in the second half from three point range, finishing with 33 points on 10 of 21 from the field with 8 of 18 coming from beyond the arc(the eight made three pointers ties a single game record) and five of six from the charity stripe. Dalton Franken ended with a double double, dropping 25 points and snaring 10 rebounds with the freshman hitting 9 of 15 from the floor and seven of ten from the line. Nathan Rindels and Kyle Lindbergh both added double-double with Rindels knocking in 21 points while grabbing 11 boards and Lindbergh contributed 20 points and pulled down 17 boards while also dishing out six assists and picking up three steals.
The two team point total is the most in the NAIA Division II Championship history, breaking the old record of 222 set in a game played between Cornerstone Michigan and Bethle Indiana in 1999. The final score in that one 113-109 in overtime. Dordt ends the season at 28-6 while William Penn advances with a 23-9 mark.